57 Thoughts About Nobu 57

1. Nobu is one of New York’s most recognizable restaurant names;

2. People associate Nobu with trendy sushi and Japanese food;

3. Nobu’s gotten so popular it’s constantly expanding;

4. A new Nobu opened up on 57th Street;

5. We went there, two weeks ago, when my parents were here;

6. This is what the door looks like:

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7. I wonder where the man in front of me bought his shirt?

8. The lobby area, once you enter, is bustling:

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9. The hostess told us that it would be ten minutes and that we should have a drink at the bar;

10. If you don’t want a drink at the bar before you eat, there’s really not much to do but stand with your backs to the wall and watch other people get seated;

11. We stood with our backs to the wall and watched other people get seated;

12. Did that fall into the category of the joke I do too much?

13. Once we were seated mom made an announcement. “I know this menu,” she said, “I know what’s good to order.” We thought she should order for us, then;

14. Mom started us off with a Sashimi Salad with Matsuhisa dressing:

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15. We thought it was a pretty presentation;

16. All the flavors were good and the sashimi was very fresh;

17. Next up was Miso soup:

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18. The Miso was as good as Miso could be;

19. When I hear the word “miso” I think of the song “Me So Horny,”

20. When I was in 5th grade, my teacher, Mrs. White, got fired for playing that song in class;

21. Ok, well, at least that’s what the rumor was. We had a class party and some of the parents came and one of the bad kids put “Me So Horny” on the tape player. We assumed that one of the parents complained because on Monday when we came back to school, Mrs. White was gone.

22. When I told that story to Craig he said, “That’s not why she was gone, Adam.”

23. I wonder if she died and they just didn’t want to tell us?

24. Or maybe they caught her drinking on the job?

25. The waiter, when we ordered, recommended the King Crab Tempura so we ordered it:

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26. It was nice, though it almost seems wasteful to deep fry king crab.

27. It’s like buying a diamond necklace and wearing a muff over it. Does anyone still wear a muff?

28. This rock shrimp dish was a crowd favorite:

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29. The shrimp is battered and fried and then–and here’s the genius part–dressed in a rich, spicy, tangy sauce that somehow doesn’t make it soggy, but enlivens it.

30. We liked the shrimp one the best.

31. Shrimp used to be my favorite food. I used to like shrimp cocktail with lots of cocktail sauce.

32. I also liked to listen to the “Beaches” soundtrack and wear an American flag t-shirt that had rhinestones on it;

33. The main event, at our Nobu meal, was this–the Black Cod with miso:

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34. This is Nobu’s most famous dish, the one he’s best known for;

35. It tastes awesome. It’s truly a revelation: the sweetness of the miso, the butteriness of the fish. Apparently the technique with which it is made is complex and part of what makes it so special;

36. I’ve had this cod before;

37. A cruise we went on two summers ago had a Nobu on the ship;

38. The cod on the ship Nobu tasted a lot like this cod. So I wasn’t as jazzed about it this time, even though I still think it’s a great dish;

39. What makes a great dish?

40. What makes a great dish dish–like the kind you serve a great dish on?

41. I watched an episode of “Sex and the City” tonight where Charlotte and Tray get engaged and they’re at Berghdorf (sp?) Goodman and she’s looking at china and she falls in love with a dish that costs $1500. “Oh please honey,” she says and Tray says, “Fine, but we’ll have to eat ramen noodles on it if we’re going to buy it.” She makes a sad puppy dog face and he relents. I thought the scene was lame. Charlotte gets on my nerves.

42. Here’s mushrooms, asparagus and calamari that’s carved in a very strange way;

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43. This was our least favorite dish.

44. When we ordered our food, my mom started with sushi;

45. The waiter said, “It’s our custom to bring the sushi at the end.”

46. Our table conferred and agreed that that would be ok;

47. By the end, though, we were almost too full for the sushi:

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48. Tuna roll, eel, and something else–the house special? I don’t remember.

49. Craig was the one who ordered eel. He wanted my mom to try it. She wouldn’t.

50. I insisted we get dessert;

51. Dessert’s my favorite part of any meal;

52. If I were told I had to give up alcohol or dessert for the rest of my life, I wouldn’t flinch: I’d give up alcohol in a second;

53. Yeah, that’s including wine;

54. Here’s our dessert—Bento Box with warm chocolate fondant cake, goma tuille and green tea ice cream:

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55. We really enjoyed this;

56. We really enjoyed our meal at Nobu 57 though, I have to say, it’s a bit strange to eat at a place that serves the same great dishes over and over again, at all the restaurants in its ever expanding empire. How does that make it different from Houston’s or other good chain restaurants that serve consistently good food around the country? The best restaurants I’ve been to in New York (or anywhere, really) have constantly changing menus; they’re constantly refining, constantly innovating. Ferran Adria closes down El Builli for 6 months to come up with new dishes. I can’t imagine that ever happening at Nobu.

57. And that concludes 57 thoughts about Nobu 57.

23 comments

  1. Thanks for this post and all the pictures.

    Definitely agree on the closing thoughts.

    It’s like an inflated Outback that serves sushi.

    I also think it’s odd the tempura is already dipped in the sauce… it makes the outside soggy when the texture is the best part of tempura!

  2. on muffs:

    my gramma made this thing for my kid that she calls a muff, but i dont know if it actually is. its a furry tube that he sticks his hands in and it has a strap to go round his neck so he doesnt drop it. because a) apparently she doesnt know someone invented gloves, and b) god knows hes going to die of pnuemonia in a mild new zealand winter.

    muff is also another term for snatch. which is why it is always fun to watch the horrified and confused looks on peoples faces when he says to them “I HAVE A MUFF!”

    also, the first thing my mother ever taught me about food was: dessert is the best part of the meal. there is always room for dessert.

  3. I’ve been to a Nobu twice. The first time I had a similar meal to what you ordered. The second time I did an omakase. You place yourself in the chef’s hands and you end up with a lot of smaller and larger plates of all sorts– some cooked, some raw and in my opinion all were innovative. A lot of it isn’t on the menu. I’ve been trying this at highly regarded Japanese restaurants and I think its really a great way to go.

  4. Adam – as a first-grader who was exceptionally proud of her white, faux-fur muff (yes, I WAS that girl), I must tell you that a muff is INDEED “a furry tube that [one] sticks [their] hands in”. A furry thing around the neck would more likely be a stole or a gaiter.

    Am I embarrassed that I know this? A little. I am also still curious as to why Mrs. White got fired. Spill!

  5. Ahhh… 2 Live Crew and food associations. I recall the lunch line in 6th grade and some of the boys singing “Somebody Say HEY-Y-Y-Y-Y WE WANT SOME PU-DDD-ING!

    – I went to Christian School

  6. This is not really directed at you, AG, (not to worry, i heart you!) but all y’all on the East Coast…i am MIGHTLY tired of NYers trying to say Nobu invented miso butterfish/black cod.

    ’cause it just NOT TRUE.

    they’ve been turning out this luscious taste-treat for yearsandyearsandyears in Japan, in Hawaii, in California–and not just in fancypants restaurants. It’s a dish you can pick up at a humble izukaya, a dish Japanese grannies have been putting on home tables for generations.

    nuthin’ against the one at Nobu–i bet it’s grand. but it’s nothing new.

    cheering for you! (and Ms. White!)

  7. I’ve had the King Crab Tempura and the Miso Black Cod. It is indeed overkill. I had to take the Tempura off to eat it. There’s also some kind of sweet/sour butter sauce on it which makes it just about the richest dish i’ve ever eaten. It doesn’t need it. The Black Cod is good, but that same recipe is served better with Chilean Sea Bass at Kiku on 5th Avenue in Brooklyn. Go there instead, you’ll spend half the amount of money and you can walk right in.

  8. Oh please, PLEASE find out what happned to Mrs. White. I have to know.

    The whole muff conversation has been highly entertaining, thank you.

    OMG- ‘Heeeyyy, we want some Puuuudding!’ I totally forgot that song! I remember dancing to it at a friend’s party in 6th or 7th grade- way too young to be hearing that garbarge, but isn’t that why we liked it?

  9. Interesting. In Britain, muff means something completely different. I’m not sure why you’d what to put diamonds in one either…

  10. awesome review. just wanted to say how much I love your blog. You are my favorite bloggers of them all :) thank you

  11. Only in NY could NOBU be compared to a chain restaurant, thats funny. I agree with you on the ever cahnging thing but not the alcohol / wine thing. Love your site and cannot wait for the book : )

  12. Miso Black Cod is not complicated at all. The most complicated part about is getting some fresh black cod. Once you get that done, its easy-breezy Japanesey (heh-heh)

    Mix together white miso and some mirin and sake. Cover the black cod filets with the miso-mirin-sake mixture and put into a ziplock bag. Throw into fridge for 2 days. Then do with it as you will (grill, fry, bake, etc…)

    Here’s a little Japanese rustic-cooking tip. Throw various veggies, egg yolks, in with the fish to marinate. They come out so tasty. You can also do this marinating method with chicken, pork, beef and duck and they all come out pretty damn tasty.

  13. As long as people keep asking for his “signature dishes” Nobu Matsushita will continue to make them. They are quite good. For years, Le Bernardin served monkfish with savoy cabbage. Then, one day, it disappeared from the menu. Does that mean people had stopped ordering it, or did Eric Ripert decide to move on? I guess I’ll have to ask him…if he ever invites me to his fancy house in the Hamptons.

  14. Loola, exactly.

    The black cod miso’s ‘other’ name is “saikyo yaki” and flavored with white miso (a lighter, more subtle miso) sake and mirin –quite simple to make at home if you so choose =)

    Not to mention, very common at Japanese restaurants at half the price of Nobu’s cod.

  15. I went to Nobu in Tribeca for the first time 8 years ago and had the cod and that dessert in a bento box. I thought the food was amazing, but I agree that they could change up their menu every now and then..

  16. ” 32. I also liked to listen to the “Beaches” soundtrack and wear an American flag t-shirt that had rhinestones on it;”

    Wow. So I guess it was no suprise to anyone who knew you when you came out huh? ;)

  17. Very interesting rundown of the meal. Regarding calamari, most Asians do cut it this way. It makes it easier to bite into I guess in case you cooked it too much.

  18. I went to Nobu in Malibu, Ca – it was absolutely the most tasty meals ever! I had the black miso cod and I am trying to find it here in Boston!!! I am craving it. They were so awesome there.

  19. You really need me on your staff so I can show you how to write a Restaurant Review. Have you ever successfully done a book report in School? Please, if you think you know so much, I wish I could see an example.

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